Lingonberry is a small, red, delicious amazing berry that's full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It goes perfectly well with Swedish meatballs. But what do lingonberries taste like?
Lingonberries have a rather special sour, tart taste with a touch of sweetness. My aim in writing this article is to convince you to taste it, in some form. It's just too healthy for you not to try it out!
There is much you can do with lingonberries to change the flavor to your liking. For instance, try mixing them with other berries or fruits. A personal favourite of mine is lingonberries with banana. It's a match made in heaven!
Lingonberries are quite usefull in cooking as they're not only tart but also a bit sour and sweet.
But when you are experimenting with your lingonberries, be careful so you don't destroy the nutrients while you're at it.
Table of Contents
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Lingonberries Compared To Cranberries
Lingonberries and cranberries are often compared to each other. They do look similar and the taste is also similar but not quite.
Compared to cranberry, lingonberries have a slight sweetness to them which, in my opinion, makes all the difference.
Both the cranberry and the lingonberry contain proantocyanates, which are part of the red dye in the berries.
Lingonberries are not, like cranberries, commercially cultivated. They are picked in the wild, in most countries around the Northern hemisphere, like Scandinavia, Canada and Northern Asia.
What Are Lingonberries And Why Do We Call Them Healthy Berries?
These red "nutri-bombs” are classified as super berries! They contain vitamins A, B, C and E. They also contain important substances like phosphorus, iron, potassium and calcium.
As if that would not be enough, lingonberries also contain antioxidants that strengthen our immune system and protects us from free radicals.
Lingonberries are rich in pectin, which can help prevent cancer, but also diabetes, by keeping your blood sugar at a steady and stable level. Lingonberries are also said to have an effect on appetite.
Their benzoic acid provides a natural preservation of lingonberries without the need to add preservatives.
Thanks to its rich content of benzoic acid, the durability of products containing lingonberry is long, even at low sugar content. You can't get more natural than that!
Lingonberries should not be heated
Lingonberries, like most berries, are sensitive to heating, which means that if you cook or heat the berries in some way, some of the nutrients might be reduced or even disappear completely. So eating it raw, dried or in powder form is the best way for you to get all the goodness in the berry.
Lingonberries grow in the northern forest belts in Europe, Asia and North America. You find lingonberries in the wild but if you got the knowledge and live in a suitable climate; you got the option to grow lingonberries yourself.
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Lingonberries and their tannins content
The unsweetened berries themselves and leaves from the lingonberry bush have been used for a long time in folk medicine to treat urinary tract infection. The berry seems to be able to lower urine pH by its acidity. Research has showed that lingonberries contain tannins.
Tannins might be active against urinary tract disorders. This was shown in a Finnish study presented in the British Medical Journal. 150 women with urinary tract infection drank cranberry and lingonberry juice for either 6 months or a year.
The conclusion was that the women that drank the juice regularly for a year, seemed to have a reduced recurrence of urinary tract infection.
You can make delicious lingonberry tea of the leaves from the lingonberry bush. And because the lingonberry bush is evergreen and don't drop its leaves in the winter it means that no matter what season it is, you can always find lingonberry leaves in the wild so you can cook yourself a nice cup of tea.
1. What Do Fresh Lingonberries Taste like?
One could say that they taste a little sweet, sour with a hint of tartness. That's especially true if you eat the lingonberries raw, directly from the bush or frozen without added sugar. Lingonberries are naturally sour with a hint of sweetness to them with soft flesh inside the berry.
If you want the berries to have a sweeter taste, a trick is to wait to pick them until the first frost. The taste changes after they've been frostbitten and they actually become a bit sweeter.
Taste is of course quite unique for one individual to the next but the taste of lingonberries seems, to me, be such a special taste that it's not suited for everyone.
Lingonberries contain quite a lot of fruit sugar, so you would think that it has a sweet taste to it. But the sweetness pales in comparison with its sour and tart flavor.
Many people think lingonberries have a fresh taste, while others feel that the taste is too bitter.
The flavors of lingonberries and cranberries are often compared to each other. Cranberries are easier to find in stores so people are more familiar with it.
If you compare lingonberries taste to cranberries you notice that cranberries are a bit more sour, while lingonberries are more tart. When it comes to the sweetness, you can't blame either of the berries to be too sweet.
Lingonberries and cranberries are good alternatives to each other in recipes.
2. What Do Frozen Lingonberries Taste like?
Frozen lingonberries, without added sugar, tastes the same as the fresh raw lingonberries. A little sweet and sour with a hint of tartness. The lingonberries don't have to thaw, you can eat them frozen if you like. It’s quite delicious to have frozen berries in a yogurt or on your oatmeal.
If you buy frozen lingonberries, the manufacturer sometimes adds sugar to the berries. The sugars sweetness brings down some of the sour taste of the lingonberries.
However, there are frozen berries that don't have added sugar.
I recommend that you buy the unsweetened ones because you can always add sugar yourself if you want them a bit sweeter.
But of course, the best option is to freeze berries that you've picked yourself. Then you know exactly what you're eating.
The shelf-life of the frozen lingonberries is not affected by added sugar, it's just there to give you the flavor you want.
We have a recommendation for frozen lingonberries in our Recommended By Care Omnia for Lingonberries page if you're interested in trying it out.
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3. What Do Dried Lingonberries Taste like?
The taste of dried lingonberries is very close to the taste of dried cranberries. They both have the same tart taste. The quite strong sour flavor of fresh lingonberries is not that strong in the dried ones.
Fresh lingonberries can, like berries in general, be dried. I eat them as "nutri-bombs" as they are, as a healthy snack or throw them in a salad. It gives the meal an extra touch.
When you dry berries you keep all it's nutrients contained. This means that the dried berry is just as nutritious and tasty as the fresh berry.
You can buy dried lingonberries in well-stocked stores but if you pick your own lingonberries you can, of course, dry them yourself.
4. What Does Lingonberry Powder Taste Like?
Lingonberry powder is made from all natural and fresh lingonberries. The lingonberry powder has the same beautiful and delicious taste as fresh lingonberries. The taste is a little sweet, sour with a hint of tartness.
The lingonberries are picked by hand and then the whole berries are dried carefully and very quickly after harvest. You dry the whole berry because you want to preserve all the nutrients in the lingonberry.
After you've carefully dried the berries you grind it into a fine powder. Nothing is added. Lingonberry powder is made from 100% natural lingonberries.
You usually don’t eat the lingonberry powder as it is. It's mixed in or sprinkled on food or drink. This gives you great freedom in deciding how much lingonberry flavor you want.
If you want to read more about the fantastic beneficial properties the lingonberry powder has, you can read an article we’ve written on the subject.
We recommend a lingonberry powder in our Recommended By Care Omnia for Lingonberries if you're interested in trying it out.
5. What Does Raw-Stirred Lingonberry Jam Taste Like?
There is a lingonberry jam in Sweden that's made slightly different than the regular lingonberry jam. In Sweden, it's called raw-stirred lingonberries. The taste of the raw-stirred lingonberry jam is slightly more powerful and less sweet compared to regular lingonberry jam. It has a little zesty taste.
The raw-stirred lingonberries contain more of the beneficial healthy nutrients from the berry itself since it hasn't been heated in the same way as the regular lingonberry jam.
I recommend you make your own raw-stirred lingonberries if you get the chance. I've written an article about 11 different substitutes for lingonberry jam, if you wish to read about how to make your own raw-stirred lingonberries.
If you want to try and make your own raw-stirred jam, here's a super-easy recipe for making delicious raw-stirred lingonberries.
Recipe for Raw-Stirred Lingonberry Jam
Raw-Stirred Lingonberry Jam is both nutritious and easy to make!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
- 18 oz of lingonberries (5 dl)
- 5 oz of sugar (1.5 dl)
- Mix sugar and lingonberry in a bowl
- Stir until sugar has dissolved
Let it rest for a while (About 15 minutes) before serving.
If you're interested in buying the jam instead of making it, be sure to check out our Recommended By Care Omnia for Lingonberries page for our top recommendation.
6. What Does Lingonberry Juice Taste Like?
If you think the juice tastes too much, I recommend you dilute it with some water or throw in some ice cubes. It's one of my favorite beverages in summer; lingonberry juice with a lot of ice. I call it "Red berry on the rocks".
Here is a recipe on a nice lingonberry juice!
My Lingonberry Juice Recipe
Juice from lingonberries works wonders hot or cold.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients (About 5 servings)
- 3 cups of lingonberries
- 6 cups of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- Wash or thaw the lingonberries
- Mash together lingonberry with sugar in a pot and pour in the water
- Heat while stirring
- Simmer for 15 minutes
- Strain the juice carefully
There's also delicious lingonberry juices to buy, if you're not able to make the juice yourself. You just have to be sure to get the right one. Take a look at our Recommended By Care Omnia: Lingonberries.
7. What Does Lingonberry Tea Taste Like?
Lingonberry tea has a slightly bitter taste. The sour characteristic of fresh lingonberries is not prominent in the tea.
Lingonberry tea is a favorite during cold winter days. It's usually made from dried lingonberry leaves but can also be made from the berries themselves.
Tea made of lingonberry leaves but also lingonberry juice has used for a long time, to treat or ease urinary tract infections. So, it's both delicious and good for you at the same time!
It's easy to make the tea yourself
- Two teaspoons of lingonberry leaves (you can use some berries too)
- A cup of hot water
- Boil for five minutes
- Strain it and drink!
Make Your Own Smoothie Of Lingonberries!
You can make a tasty lingonberry smoothie in your own kitchen with just the ingredients you like. This way you can balance the flavors just how you like them.
A good tip that fits well together with lingonberries in a smoothie is banana.
Because you don't heat a smoothie, you get all the beneficial nutrients from the lingonberry while at the same time adding other flavors that you like.
I recommend using other sweet berries or fruits to balance the sourness.
Here is a tip on an amazing smoothie that I love! You can try it as is, or change the ingredients to whatever you desire.
My Lingonberry and Banana Smoothie
This smoothie will make you smile. The mix of lingonberries and banana works, it just works!
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Ingredients (2 big glasses)
- 2 cups of frozen lingonberries
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2 orange
- 2 cups milk or coconut milk
- 1 cup natural yogurt
- Mix lingonberry, banana in pieces, yogurt and milk with a mixer or food processor
- Pour up in 2 glasses
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The Results From Our Care Omnia Taste Test!
To give you a better idea about the taste of lingonberries we use our very own non-scientific taste test we call the "Care Omnia Taste Test". This time we tasted lingonberry products.
We served fresh lingonberries, frozen lingonberries, traditional lingonberry jam, the more healthy raw-stirred lingonberry jam and some lingonberry juice to our children, and ourselves of course.
I won't miss a chance to eat some lingonberries!
We got our three children aged 4, 9 and 13 and then me, Sara, and my husband Peter, to test all of the products and give a "grade" on them. This time around not one product got "all smiles".
Test 1: What Does Fresh Lingonberries Taste Like?
Fresh lingonberries has a quite strong flavor that is tarty and sweet at the same time. Where we live we usually can find both lingonberries and blueberries in the woods at the same time during a short period, about a month.
At that time our children actually rather go for the blueberries than the lingonberries.
As you can see in this taste test, the children weren't that fond of the lingonberry flavor.
Our 9 year old was not impressed
aaaargh...what is this?!? It's sour and bitter and sweet?!? at the same time? And then he bolted to the kitchen faucet to get water to drink...
Nor was our 13 year old
mmm...erm... well..., all the while her face told us everything...
Not good, too sour!... she didn't need to drink water afterwards though...
I think the flavor is really intense! Works with a lot of dishes.
While my husband couldn't get enough
Nice! Love the flavors! Give me more! He actually ate the whole bowl of berries when the test was done.
Test 2: What Does Frozen Lingonberries Taste Like?
Frozen lingonberries are just the same as fresh ones, especially when we don't buy sweetened lingonberries.
But we thought it could be interesting to try them frozen and see if there were a difference in the taste when the berries are cold.
There was not that much of differences in the taste. I think that the frozen berry doesn't have the same intensity in it's flavors as the fresh ones. But the tartness is still there though.
Our 4 year old was actually the only one that thought is was very different from the fresh berry. He said
Thumbs up... but then after about 2 minutes, after he heard what his siblings thought about them,
It was really nice at first, then after a while... sour and well not so good, but okay!
Test 3: What Does Traditional Lingonberry Jam Taste Like?
Traditional lingonberry jam usually contains a lot of sugar. We like to keep the sugar intake down in our family, but in jam there's always some amount of sugar.
The traditional lingonberry jam has a nice flavor that is not as sharp as fresh lingonberries.
Our 4 year old and 9 year old both gave a thumbs up
nice!. But the 13 year old made a face and said
I really don't like lingonberries.
Me and my husband on the other hand, absolutely like this stuff. But we both think that it's a bit on the sweet side.
Test 4: What Does Raw-stirred Lingonberry Jam Taste Like?
Raw-stirred lingonberry jam is a lot like the traditional jam but not quite and it's the healthier choice.
The raw-stirred is so easy to make yourself if you have fresh berries but want them little sweeter and in jam form.
When we tried this jam it was the 9 year old that was all smiles.
Our 13 year old said
tastes more sugary, but then ... no... This made me wonder about her taste buds, as the sugar content in raw-stirred is lower than the traditional one...
My husband said
this tastes more natural, really good! and I have to agre with him. There is something special with the raw-stirred versions of most jams and especially the lingonberry one.
Test 4: What Does Lingonberry Juice Taste Like?
Lingonberry juice is fantastic. It fits very well to drink with food. In Sweden you often find lingonberry juice as a alternative in lunch restaurants.
It's not too sweet and not too sour. The tarty flavor is there together with some sweetness.
This is something almost all of us finds tasty.
The 4 year old and the 9 year old wanted more and went to the kitchen to get new glasses.
The 13 year old shrugged and said
still don't like lingonberries. Oh well...
I really like the tarty flavor of the lingonberry juice. I find it refreshing. Peter also loves it, so we always have some in the fridge.
Comments about the taste test and over all results
Well, it's hard to say. My husband doesn't lie about foods and what he thinks about it so I have to give him that. He liked or even loved all the tests we did today.
Lingonberries for children... maybe better in other forms than fresh ones. Our younger family members loved the jams and the juice. Hmm... perhaps it's the sugar they actually love...
For me? I'm maybe a bit more towards the products made of Lingonberries than the fresh ones.
The raw-stirred for example is something I find absoltely fantastic!
So a conclusion of this round of taste tests is that lingonberries seem to have a more "grown up flavor".
Conclusion: You Have To Try It Out! Add Lingonberries To Your Diet Today!
I will say that the lingonberry does have a unique flavor. It’s a taste you might need to get used to/acquire but chances are you'll fall in love with it from the start. Either way, In the end, there's not a better way to find out what you think about this amazing berry than to try it yourself.
I hope you've realized through this article that this berry is too healthy for you to not try it out.
The number of different flavors you can bring out from it if you mix it with other fruits, berries or foods is almost infinite.
Perhaps you're one of those that might not like the taste of fresh lingonberries, but I'm sure that a smoothie with lingonberries and banana will do the trick!
I wish you good luck on your lingonberry flavor adventures!
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Frequently asked questions about the taste of Lingonberries
Are lingonberries sour?
Raw lingonberries have a sour taste, but you can also find both sweetness and tartness in them. The lingonberry is naturally a sour berry, only slightly sweet with soft flesh inside the berry. Traditional lingonberry jam on the other hand usually contains a lot of sugar which makes it much harder to sense the sour taste. Raw-stirred lingonberry jam, with less added sugar than the traditional one, does however bring out more of the natural sourness of the berries.
Does lingonberry flavor resemble cranberry?
Yes, lingonberries and cranberries are often compared to each other. The two berries are quite similar, both in looks and taste, but there are some small differences. Cranberries are a bit more sour and their sweetness is a bit more distinctive than lingonberries. Lingonberries are however more tart which combined with less sourness and sweetness clearly differentiates their taste from cranberries.
Can you change the flavor of lingonberries?
Yes, there is actually a trick you can do if you if you prefer sweet over sour. Wait to pick the berries until the first frost has come. The taste of the berries changes after they've been frostbitten and they actually become a bit sweeter. You can also do this trick in you freezer, by freezing the lingonberries for at least 24 hours before you make something out of them.
Can you eat lingonberries raw?
Yes! You can eat the berries directly from the bush. To eat the lingonberries raw is one of the best ways to get all the health benefits from the berry.